Letter to my 24-year-old son

The Twenties:   It’s a checkered affair.

Ten years ago...A lot has happened since then.
Ten years ago.  A lot has happened since then.

 

My darling son,

Life in your Twenties is a challenge.
Life in your Twenties is not turning out to be what you thought it would be.
No matter what you are doing, no matter where you are, you think you should be somewhere else, doing something else.  

If you are in grad school you long to have a job.  It seems so much more adult and easy (i.e. no papers or exams).  Instead of enjoying your studies, you are worried about finding a job afterwards.  If you were lucky enough to score a job out of college, you are wondering why you don’t love it more and whether you should be in grad school.

You are beginning to doubt everything about your life and the choices you’ve made so far.
If you are in America, you want to be abroad.
If you are abroad, you think you’re missing things back in America.

You’re wondering: hey, why isn’t this, life, my life, more fun? After all, the twenties are supposed to be great, right?
When does my life begin?
You’re wondering, where’s the passion? Why don’t I love my life more?
And, how do I get to where I want to be, if I don’t know where I want to go?

Then you compare yourself to your friends. Uh oh, bad idea.
You think they are happier than you. That they have found some answers that you haven’t.
Here’s the thing: if you don’t have a crise de coeur in your twenties, you’ll have it in your thirties or beyond.
No one slips by unscathed by fear, doubt, wondering, “Is this…it?”

Life is not a straight line.  It’s a zig and a zag, if you live it properly.  It’s a trial and an error.
People who get on one straight path might regret, later on in life, that they didn’t experiment and explore with other things.
People who experiment might regret, later on in life, that they couldn’t find one career and stick with it.
The best advice I ever heard from a friend’s father was, “You don’t really have to figure things out until you’re 40. Then, you’ll work at that career for 25+ years, until you retire.” That right there, is a life time.
So take the pressure off.

If you have a calling, consider yourself blessed.  Follow it and enjoy it.
If you don’t have a calling, consider yourself blessed.  Life is yours to discover.  Your passion is waiting for you.   Take it easy on yourself.  You are good at a lot of things.  Experiment.  Travel. Take risks. Try this. Try that.
It all adds up to who you are.

Ask anyone who’s lived through their 20s: it’s a checkered affair. A bit of this, a change in direction, a bit of that.  Good times, lean times, and always time to spend at home to regroup.

When you look back, you’ll see how everything you did or didn’t do in your 20’s has formed the person you are when you are 30, and then 40, and beyond.
You will never regret the things you did.  But you will regret the things you didn’t do.

You will never say, “Gee, I shouldn’t have gone to France.”  But you will say, “I should have gone to France.  Why didn’t I?”

One thing a twenty something should remember:
There are no mistakes.  Everything you do or don’t do adds up to something.
And, life is not a race. Life happens to people at different paces.
There is no such thing as a late bloomer. Flowers are never “late” at blooming. Some bloom in May, others bloom in July. But neither’s better for blooming earlier or later.

We all have different timing.  And your timing is perfect.

Just remember: everything will be all right.
You are wonderful,  just the way you are.
Take deep breaths. Be easy on yourself.
Try to live and love as hard as you can. Have fun. Be happy.
Try not to be afraid.
And, take care of you.
Love, Mama

Last year at your birthday.
The boy in the top photo grew up .  On the left is his Uncle Dunkel.

 

P.S.  Happy 24th Birthday!  It’s all good.

Happy Birthday Pablo!
Happy Birthday Pablo!

 

So my lovelies…what unasked for (ha ha) advice do you have for your adult children?  Do tell.  We are all ears.

xo Liza

 

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4 thoughts on “Letter to my 24-year-old son

  1. Oh, Liza, what a wonderful description of the “undescribable” 20s! If you aren’t in constant flux about who you are, who you think you are, where you are headed, you probably aren’t doing things they way you should. It seems to me, in your 20s you start to grasp the fact that life is pretty darn confusing most of the time. That, at least, will be a constant over time. Our society seems to tell young people of a certain educational and financial status that their choices are infinite when, in truth, in our twenties we begin to make choices that, in later years, will lead us in a certain direction where we will have to make more choices. At the end of our lives, the sum of those choices and their outcomes will, indeed, become our lives. To a twenty-something, that may seem scary and constrictive, but it is not at all. To me, it is like building a house to live in, one room at a time. At times we may realize we didn’t do the foundations properly or get the ceiling height right, so we have to tear the latest room down and do it again until we get it right.
    Happy Birthday to you, Pablo!

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